Used 1996 Cadillac DeVille Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1996

Northstar V8 is installed in base DeVille, along with a new transmission, Integrated Chassis Control System and road-sensing suspension. Concours gets 25 horsepower boost to 300, along with a higher final-drive ratio for quicker pickup and an improved continuously variable road-sensing suspension. Automatic windshield wipers and new variable-effort steering are standard on the Concours. Daytime running lights debut on both of these monsters.

Vehicle overview

Poised to take over Big Kahuna duties when the Fleetwood departs at the end of the 1996 model year, the De Ville certainly looks the part. With its eggcrate grille, slab-sided flanks and long, thin, horizontal tail lamps, the De Ville is unmistakably a Cadillac.

The big news for 1996 is the addition of the Northstar 4.6-liter V8 to the De Ville. The new engine puts out 275-horsepower; a whopping 38 percent increase over the old 4.9-liter V8 under the hood of the 1995 model. With the new engine comes a new transmission, and long-life engine coolant designed to last for 100,000 miles. Also standard for 1996 is Cadillac's Integrated Chassis Control System and Road-Sensing Suspension.

Concours models get a power boost to differentiate them from basic De Ville models. The 300-horse unit from the Cadillac STS sits under the hood of the Concours, and a higher final drive ratio ensures that this sporty Cadillac feels faster than its whitewall trimmed sibling. Unique to the Concours is Rainsense, a system that can sense when raindrops are falling and turn the wipers on automatically, at the right speed to keep up with the rate of rainfall. Magnasteer variable effort steering replaces the De Ville's Speed-Sensitive gear on the uplevel Concours, and a Continuously Variable Road Sensing Suspension is standard as well.

Both De Villes change interior trim color to "Harmony Gray." New radios debut for 1996, and an integrated voice activated cell phone is available in portable or non-portable format. Customers can personalize door locks and seat positions for up to two drivers, and climate controls get an air recirculation function. Located in the glove box are new switches for valet lockout and turning the traction control system off. Daytime running lights make these behemoths more visible on the road.

In this class of American luxury automobiles, buyers have three choices: the De Ville, the Lincoln Town Car, and the Chrysler New Yorker/LHS. We'd take the De Ville Concours. It is quick, silent, somewhat agile, and offers scads of luxury in a tastefully restrained package.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.